How To Land A Job In A Tough Economy

If you’re looking for work, try these strategies. Trust me, I’ve been there.

It’s rough out there. Companies today are cutting costs, laying off workers, and scaling back ambitions. Hiring freezes are the norm. Uncertainty about the future abounds. And if you’re looking for a job, it can feel hopeless.

But don’t give up. Landing a job in an economic downturn isn’t impossible, you just have to approach it a bit differently. Here’s some guidance:

Write Directly To Decision Makers

Applications from portals and so-called ‘easy’ one-click application buttons are bombarding hiring managers today. Do not go that route. Far fewer people are actually taking the time to research the company, learn about its org structure, and write an email directly to decision-makers. If you do this, and explain why you’re the right candidate, you face less competition and earn more of the right people’s time. Use a browser extension like ClearBit Connect to find the right decision-maker’s email.

Own Your Story

A businessperson recently told me their best performers were people who’d been caught up in mass layoffs. Companies cutting so crudely (ahem, Elon Musk) will inevitably fire some of their all-stars. So, if you got laid off, own the story. Realize it isn’t all bad. In fact, hiring managers might be looking exactly for you.

Create Your Own Role

If you do enough research, you can convince a company you belong simply by dreaming up a role they’re not hiring for. Instead of applying for listed jobs, you can vigorously research everything about a company — its market position, competitors, leadership changes, and opportunities — and then create a role. Explain how your skill set and contacts would give that company a competitive edge, and you’d be surprised by how many hiring managers would go to bat to hire you.

Link Yourself to ROI

Companies have stopped spending, but they’re still willing to splurge on whatever returns the investment. If you can concretely map out how you will impact the bottom line directly, make that a priority.

Find a Friendly Recruiter

Third-party recruiters typically hear about openings and company needs before the general market. So, even if they’re not hiring for your skill set in particular, build relationships with them because it will pay off in the future.

Apply For Jobs That Are Out Of Your League

It may seem cliche, but one of the more powerful books I’ve read is The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. The book makes a great case for why you should apply for jobs that are out of your league — or, more accurately, jobs you believe are in that category. Most of us look for jobs that are lower in the organization or middle management. Few people apply to top executive jobs. This means that companies are reviewing a sea of applications for jobs think you deserve, and only a handful for jobs you think are above you. Put yourself in the ring and go after it. You may just surprise yourself.

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